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Across the U.S. and around the world, the staggering problem of youth unemployment can be difficult to judge accurately because many young people have yet to enter the workforce. What we do know is that unemployment among the young is greater than 50 percent in countries such as Greece and Spain, and perhaps greater than 30 percent in some cities and states in the U.S.

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In my recent article “Innovating to Strengthen Youth Employment” (Innovations, MIT Press, October 2013), I examine the following factors to shed some light on the causes of youth unemployment and how communities, educators and employers can address them:

  • What are the roots of youth unemployment, and why is it that increased high school graduation rates have not translated into greater employment and earnings?
  • Where are the jobs, and what types and levels of training are (and will be) required for young people to participate in the 21st century economy?
  • How can we drive innovation across an educational system that hasn’t evolved significantly since the Second World War?
  • What are the pathways to prosperity that can clarify and streamline the next generation’s journey from high school to college and career?
  • Where should we begin to ensure that proven programs for success are properly funded and made available to all?

The answers may surprise you. But even more encouraging is the fact that addressing and overcoming these challenges is well within our reach. If we allocate the proper resources and make strategic use of programs already in place, we will realize significant and quantifiable benefits.

Related Resources:

DOWNLOAD: Innovating to Strengthen Youth Employment

IBM SmartCloud Helps New York State Connect Education to Jobs

Reinventing High School to Connect Education to Jobs

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement of 16 new “early college” technology-focused high schools based on IBM’s P-TECH model has implications far beyond state borders. A national study by the Brookings Institution concludes that half of all STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) jobs are “middle skill” positions requiring postsecondary training but not a four-year degree. And the U.S. Department of Labor reports that the American economy will create 14 million new middle skill jobs over the next 10 years – on top of the 29 million jobs that exist right now.

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It has never been more imperative that we heed President Obama’s call to transform American education and strengthen our global competitiveness. Community-minded employers must forge partnerships with educators and governments, and strengthen the connection between education and jobs.

Read my op-ed in the Albany Times-Union for the full story about how visionary leadership and collaboration will help the nation’s young people realize their dreams for productive and prosperous futures.

Linda Sanford is IBM’s Senior Vice President for Enterprise Transformation.

Related Resources:

Albany Times-Union: A Middle Path to Success

STEMblog STEM Woman Leader of the Day: IBM’s Linda Sanford

Governor Cuomo Announces Public-Private Partnerships to Prepare More than 6,000 Students for High-Skill Jobs

The Pathway from Education to Employment in New York State

Brookings Institution: The Hidden STEM Economy

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New York’s educational system enters a new era of effectiveness with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement to create 16 new grades 9 – 14 joint high school/community college programs across the state. Each of New York State’s 10 economic development zones will receive at least one new school based on the model that has been so successful with the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York City and the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy and other schools in Chicago. These new schools – each a partnership among the Governor’s office, The State University of New York, The New York State Education Department and its school districts, and IBM and a host of other companies – will represent a critical step toward bringing a new world of opportunity to the young people of New York State.

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Graduates of the new P-TECH-model schools will receive both a high school diploma and a postsecondary associate degree in technology – preparing them to enter the rapidly expanding “middle skill” job market for people with postsecondary training, though not necessarily a four-year college degree. The curriculum for each school will be developed in collaboration with that school’s corporate partner. This unique combination of academic rigor and career focus has captured the attention of educators, employers and legislators across the U.S. – including President Obama, who called for more schools like P-TECH
in his State of the Union address
; the City of Chicago, which opened five P-TECH-model schools last September; and New York City, which just announced plans to open five
more schools
.

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IBM’s SmartCloud Brings Relief to Storm-Ravaged Areas

In the aftermath of one of the largest and most destructive storms to strike the heavily populated U.S. East Coast, IBM responded with pro bono consultants, strategies for both an immediate and long term response to disaster relief and recovery, and all of the technology and expertise needed to help establish the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Among the solutions donated to the fund and other key agencies in New York and New Jersey coping with the disaster was the SmartCloud for Social Business, which created the infrastructure necessary to launch immediate relief efforts, and will provide the cloud-based social collaboration tools that will sustain the fund during the long term recovery efforts.

“Because of IBM’s knowledge and expertise, the Fund is able to provide relief to New Jersey families and communities in an efficient and effective manner.”
– Hon. Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey

This is just one of many initiatives described in IBM’s 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report, which outlines corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs aligned with the company’s Smarter Planet strategy to protect the environmentstrengthen education and economic developmentenable humanitarian research, and improve the quality of life in cities around the world.

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June 13th, 2013
17:28
 

As part of a year-long observation of the fifth anniversary of the IBM Corporate Service Corps, the U.S. State Department convened hundreds of public and private sector
leaders to share perspectives on leadership development through citizen diplomacy.
Below, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Stanley S. Litow shares his thoughts on the importance of Corporate Service Corps to its constituents,
its participants, and to those who would pursue solutions to global societal challenges through citizen diplomacy.

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Modeled on the Peace Corps, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) helps us focus the expertise and passion of our most talented executives and employees on creating real and sustainable value across a smarter planet. Each year for the last five years, CSC has sent 500 of IBM’s best people – along with employees from some of our clients – to more than 30 countries to help local stakeholders develop strategies to manage their toughest challenges. As the program marks its fifth year, we celebrate the more than 2,200 IBMers who have deployed on more than 750 team assignments around the world. In places like Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco, Nigeria and Vietnam, these citizen diplomats have worked alongside local governments, NGOs and residents to plan and develop programs to provide health care for poor women and children, create clean water and food safety initiatives, and build skills to help strengthen economies.

As IBM marks the five-year anniversary of its Corporate Service Corps, the company was featured at an event on Thursday, June 13, 2013 in Washington, D.C. hosted by the U.S. Department of State’s Global Partnership Initiative and United States Agency for International Development. From right: Stanley S. Litow, IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs; Deirdre White, President & CEO, CDC Development Solutions; Jeff Blander, Acting Director of Private Sector Engagement, Office of the Global Aids Coordinator, U.S. Department of State; and John Glenn, Policy Director, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

Corporate Service Corps delivers a “triple benefit”: Communities have their problems solved; Participants receive leadership training and development; and IBM develops new markets and global leaders. Some of IBM’s most skilled technologists, researchers, engineers, finance experts and consultants – working in teams of six to 12 experts drawn from more than 50 countries – contribute their unique skills and perspectives to each engagement. Each sets out to change their views of cultural differences as they collaborate to help solve problems in communities around the world.

This innovative idea that owes its inspiration to President John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps has evolved into a powerful force by harnessing the power of the public and private sectors to solve problems no single entity can overcome alone. The results have helped bridge the divides between cultures and geographies – broadening cultural awareness, advancing skills, and capturing the hearts and minds of the next generation of global leaders.

We look forward to the coming era of global citizen diplomacy as more companies answer the call to service. Working together, we know we can bring about meaningful change.

Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation.

Related Resources:

IBM Featured at U.S. Department of State Forum on International Corporate Volunteerism

Yahoo! Finance Coverage

Corporate Service Corps Program Overview

Perspectives on IBM Corporate Service Corps

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May 10th, 2013
11:07
 

Over the last several years, corporate citizenship programs have begun to refocus their efforts from “responsibility” to “opportunity.” In other words, companies now realize that they can affect positive societal results by applying time, talent and technology to the common (and uncommon) challenges faced by people around the world. By intertwining corporate citizenship with business strategy, companies can advance their business goals while bringing about real, sustainable change.

WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) recently bestowed their “Visionary Award for Shared Value” on IBM in recognition of our “outstanding corporate governance and corporate citizenship” efforts. IBM Director and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson accepted the award on our behalf.

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The ever-growing pace of urbanization brings many challenges to government organizations, including increased demands for services with reduced sources of revenue, and calls for more accountability, openness and transparency. Forward thinking public sector leaders know that they can – and must – convene the right people, technologies and strategies to support growth and prosperity. Simultaneously, they also must ensure a safe and healthy environment in which their citizens may enjoy a high quality of life.

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Enabling growth and prosperity requires collaboration – across boundaries and among organizations and departments – in ways that might have been previously unthinkable. Technological improvements are enabling governments to share not only big machines
like backhoes and emergency vehicles, but also services, big data analytics and
computing capabilities.

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April 5th, 2013
11:59
 

In my new article for Corporate Responsibility Magazine, I discuss the strategy and cultural orientation behind how IBM’s Corporate Service Corps solves problems, grows leaders, and builds markets. Of course, discussions of business “strategy” are nothing new. But what differentiates IBM is the extent to which we integrate corporate citizenship into business strategy. As you’ll read in the article, our innovative approach to corporate citizenship has its roots in a culture of service that stretches back to our beginnings more than a century ago. Now in the 21st Century – as governments, nonprofits and corporations struggle with global challenges that are too big for any single sector to manage alone – we are helping to evolve corporate citizenship into a set of replicable practices that create real and sustainable value.

Please read and share this article, and share your thoughts on how all of us can work together to make our planet smarter.

Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation.

Related Resources:

IBM Deploys Talent, Technology and Innovation for Global Social Progress

Corporate Responsibility Must Be Integral to Corporate Culture

VIDEO: IBM’s Culture of Service

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Perhaps the most exciting aspect of innovation is its potential to enable positive societal change. Citizens around the world will reap the benefits of this change as the cost of computing power decreases while the performance we get from these systems increases. Couple this with the fact that we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data everyday, and governments have an optimal opportunity to develop “data for the public good.”

The path forward for using data to improve citizens’ lives and the public good requires new ways of managing and accessing that data. Governments need to start thinking about their data as a natural resource that can have a profound impact on how they address societal challenges such as energy conservation, health care, and transportation. The most open and cost-effective way of doing this is by managing data with cloud computing systems.

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When CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and I began working with the New York City Department of Education on creating the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), our top priority was connect education to jobs.

Why?

  • The U.S. economy will create 14 million “middle skill” jobs over the next 10 years, but we don’t have the people to fill them.
  • Right now in New York City, more than 300,000 jobs – most requiring the types of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and workplace skills training that P-TECH students receive – remain unfilled, even in the midst of high unemployment rates.
  • The undeniable fact is that a high school education is not enough to enable our young people to obtain (and maintain) middle-class careers.

What are we doing about it?

Read what Matt and I have to say in CRAIN’S New York Business about the critical connection between education and jobs, about P-TECH’s breakout success, and about why President Obama called for schools across the nation to “equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy” in his February State of the Union address.

Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation. Mr. Litow is a former Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools.

Related Resources:

President Praises P-TECH in State of the Union Address

Governor Cuomo and IBM Announce Public-Private Partnership to Prepare NYS Students for High-Skills Jobs of the Future

REPLAY: Stanley Litow Discusses Connecting Education to Jobs on NPR’s “On Point”

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